How important is a symbol? That’s a real question, I don’t know. I don’t think there is a specifically quantified, official, scientifically researched answer. And it certainly depends on the symbol. A lot of people wear crosses around their necks eventhough they never set foot inside a church, and some people will wear a star of David or a Chai without being Jewish at all, just because it looks cool, but if somebody has a swastika tattooed on their arm, we can pretty much assume they are a Nazi.
Which brings us to the subject of tonight’s blog: The Confederate Flag. I am glad South Carolina has decided to take it down, if they for sure actually have. I’ll believe it when I see it.
It would be an admission that they have a race problem, and a small step (in fact, merely a symbolic step) towards fixing the problem. It would be better than leaving it up and, at this stage, the best thing we’re likely to get out of the situation.
D. Storm Roof has been arrested, charged, and will undoubtedly be found guilty of his crime. I don’t know if he’ll get the death penalty. I’m opposed to the death penalty, myself, but if they don’t give it to this guy they can’t, in good conscience, give it to anybody in the future unless they kill, on purpose and with premeditation, at least 9 people. If he doesn’t get at least life in prison, though, that will be a serious symbolic kick in the teeth to all of South Carolina’s black people. Far worse than the Stars and Bars.
It’s not likely that this crime will lead to more reasonable gun laws. Even Sandy Hook didn’t do that, so I really don’t know what will ever do that.
So, the removal of the flag from the South Carolina statehouse, and increased public awareness that it is symbolic of a deservedly failed ideology, is all we’re going to get out of this. But that is something.